Massachusetts residents are likely aware that a ballot initiative legalizing personal use of marijuana passed in November 2016. As a result, adults who are at least 21 years of age or older are legally allowed to use, possess or purchase a specific amount of marijuana.
The marijuana laws, which are now being tinkered with by lawmakers, state that purchasing or possessing up to 1 ounce or less of the drug is legal. Users can also be legally in possession of up to 10 ounces of marijuana in their primary residence. Users can also grow up to 12 plants per household, (6 plants per person with a 12 plant household maximum). The sale of marijuana accessories, including growing lamps, pipes and bongs, will also be legal. The ballot measure defined marijuana accessories as any device or piece of equipment that was intended to be used for growing, manufacturing or using personal amounts of marijuana.
However, residents should know that marijuana use is prohibited where regular cigarettes are prohibited. This means that users cannot use marijuana in their workplace, in public spaces, in museums and on public transportation. Additionally, retail stores cannot legally sell marijuana until some time in 2018.
Even though marijuana is legal in Massachusetts, it is still possible to face drug charges if accused of being in possession of more than the legal amount. If a person is facing a jail sentence, major fines and other consequences, a criminal defense attorney may attempt to combat the charges. For example, the attorney may argue that the marijuana belongs to another person or that the defendant did not have knowledge of being in possession of an illegal amount of marijuana.